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  • Use this article to find out how students at Kaniere School are helping scientists combat the spread of weeds. They’re using simple digital technology to identify the weeds and upload the information to a national database, iNaturalist. The article shows how students can use digital technology to become citizen scientists and act locally on a national issue.

    The project demonstrates how classifying involves both careful observation and comparison and the importance of data collection to both identify and monitor issues.

    The article offers suggestions on how other schools can join the war on weeds. This supports the science capability ‘Engage with science’.

    Check your school library for the article from the 2018 level 2 Connected journal ‘Step By Step’ download it as a Google slide presentation or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from TKI (Word and PDF files available). It includes the learning activities – Plant classifications, Join the fight! and Why the fuss? – along with related resource links.

    Related content

    Discover more about the uniqueness of New Zealand plants.

    Watch this video to find out about pest plants within the Waikato River catchment.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Activity idea

    In Native plant leaves – DIY classification system, students get a taste of classification.

    Citizen science

    The number of opportunities to be involved as citizen scientists continues to grow, and teachers are increasingly using them to make science education more relevant and engaging and to develop students’ science capabilities. Explore the projects listed in the Citizen science section, including iNaturalist, to find one that sparks an interest or is local and see these tips for planning your science programme.

    If you need more help or inspiration, see our recorded PLD webinars:

    • Getting started with citizen science – this will help to make sense of the growing opportunities to engage with citizen science.
    • Online citizen science – Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize winner Carol Brieseman shares her experiences using online citizen science projects in the classroom.

    Useful links

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 9 June 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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